'SUMMONS - CIVIL

JD-CV-1 Rev. 10-09

C.G.S. §§ 51-346, 51-347,51-349,51-350, 52-45a, 52-48,52-259, P.B. Sees. 3-1 through 3-21, 8-1

STATE OF CONNECTICUT SUPERIOR COURT

www.jud.ct.gov

See page 2 for instructions

o

~IXII if amount) legai interest Oi property in demand, not including interest and costs is less than $2,500.

"X" if amount, legal interest or property in demand. not induding interest and costs is $2,500 or more.

"X" if claiming other relief in addition to Dr in lieu of money or damages.

TO: Any proper officer; BY AUTHORITY OF THE STATE OF CO~JNECTICUT1 you are hereby commanded to make due and legal service of this Summons and attached Complaint.

Address of court clerk where writ and other papers shall be filed (Number, street, town and zip code) (GG.S. §§ 51-346, 51-350)

235 Church Street, New Haven 06510

Telephone nu rnber of clerk (with area code)

( 203 ) 503-6800

Return Date (Must be a Tuesday)

August

3 .2010

Day --vear-

Month

'Xl Judicial District jAt (Town in '('hich writ is returnable) (C.G.S. §§ 51-346, 51.349)

~ G.A.

D Housing Session 0 Number: New Haven

For the Plaintiff(s) please enter the appearance of:

Case type code (See list on page 2)

Major: C Minor: 90

Name and address of attorney, law firm or plaintiff if self-represented (Number, street, town and zip coda) I Juris number (tp be entered by attorney only)
Perelmutter, Potash & Ginzberg, P.C. 046117
Telephone number (with area code) I Signature of Plaintiff (If self-represented)
(203 ) 888-2501
Number of Plaintiffs: 1 r Number of Defendants: 8 lIZ! Form JD-CV-2 attached for additional parties
Parties Name (Last, First, Middle Initial) and Address of Each party (Number; Street; P,O, Box; Town; State; Zip; Country, if not USA)
First Name: ~rasso. Susane O. P-01
Plaintiff Address:
Additional Name: P-02
Plaintiff Address:
First Name: Connecticut Hospice, Inc. D-50
Defendant Address: 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405
Additional Name: Hurzeler, Rosemary J. D·51
Defendant Address: 11 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405
Additional Name: Knight, Ronny J. 0·52
Defendant Address: 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405
Additional Name: Goldfarb, David R. 0-53
Defendant Address: 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405 Notice to Each Defendant

1. YOU ARE BEING SUED. This paper is a Summons in a lawsuit. The complaint attached to these papers states the claims that each plaintiff is making against YDU in this lawsuit.

2. To be notified of further proceedings, you or your attorney must file a form called an "Appearance" with the clerk of the above-named Court at the above Court address on or before the second day after the above Return Date. The Return Date is not a hearing date. You do not have to come to court on the Return Date unless you receive a separate notice telling you to come to court.

3. If you or your attorney do not file a written "Appearance" form on time, a judgment may be entered against you by default. The "Appearance" form may be obtained at the Court address above or at www.jud.ct.govunder"Court Forms."

4. If you believe that you have insurance that may cover the claim that is being made against you in this lawsuit. you should immediately contact your insurance representative. Other action you may have to take is described in the Connecticut Practice Book which may be found in a superior court law library or on-line at www:lud.ct.gov under "Court Rules."

, If you have questions a 'ut the Summons and Complaint, you should tal k to an attorney quickly. The Clerk of Court is not allowed to give advice on

legal questions. '

Name of Person Signing at Left Jeffrey D. Ginzberg, Esquire

Date signed 7/6/2010

Commissioner of the Superior Court Assistant Clerk

. , ..

IS Sumrpons IS SIgned

he sig -ng has been done so that the Plaintiff(s) will not be denied access to the courts.

is t responsibility of the Plaintiff(s) to see that service is made in the manner provided by law.

c. The Clerk is not permitted to give any legal advice in connection with any lawsuit.

d. The Clerk signing this Summons at the request of the Plaintiff(s} is not responsible in any way for any errors or omissions in the Summons, any allegations contained in the Complaint, or the service of the Summons or Complaint.

I certify I have read and Signed (Self-Represented Plaintiff) understand the above:

Date

For Court USe Only.

File Date

IV! Commissioner of the ~ Superior Court

Assistant Clerk

Date 716/2010

, ~'X" proper box)

(Page 1 of 2)

Docket Number

CIVIL SUMMONS CONTINUATION OF PARTIES

STATE OF CONNECTICUT SUPERIOR COURT

JD-CV-2 Rev. 4-97

FIRST NAMED PLAINTIFF (Last, First, Middle Initial) Grasso, Susane O.

FIRST NAMED DEFENDANT (Last, First, Middle Initial) Connecticut Hospice, Inc.

~,,:f,iE<'i"~<;;';·<\':" , .. /;.', .. · .. f, ...• '," .' ...• " :AIlOITIONA1:J:iI?LAINllfFS',,' "iF, •.• ' •.•.• ' .•..• \ .•.•. ':,;.;' '/ ii. ,i,;(;!', .~,,".~tt,

NAME (Last, First, Middle Initial, ifindividual) ADDRESS (No., Street, Town and ZIP Gode) CODE

NAME (Last, First, Middle Initial, if individual) ADDRESS (No., Street, Town and ZIP Gode)

Kilmas, Sandra, J. 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405

Flannigan, Susan, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405

Baranowski, Nancy, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405

Sweeney, Michael, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405

62

FOR COURT USE ONL Y - FILE DATE

63 DOCKET NO.

CIVIL SUMMONS-Continuation

03

04

05

06

07

08

09

10

11

12

13

CODE

54

55

56

57

58

59

60

'ERELMUTTE;R, POTASH & GINZBERG, P.C.

ATTORNEYS &

:OUNSELLORS AT LAW 11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

EYMOUR. CONNECTICUT

064B3-0001

TEL (203) 888-2501 FAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

II

RN DT:

AUGUST 3, 2010

SUPERIOR COURT

SUSANE O. GRASSO

· ·

J.D. OF NEW HAVEN

VS.

AT NEW HAVEN

CONNECTICUT HOSPICE, INC., Rosemary J. Hurzeler,

Ronny J. Knight

David R. Goldfarb

Sandra J. Klimas

Susan Flannigan

Nancy Baranowski

Michael Sweeney

· ·

July 6,2010

COMPLAINT

I. PARTIES:

1. Connecticut Hospice, Inc, (hereinafter referred to as "CTHI") is a

corporation organized existing under the laws of the State of Connecticut as a non-

profit corporation the operation of which is governed by a board of directors. The

individual defendants are Rosemary J. Hurzeler, President and CEO, Ronny J.

Knight, Sr VP, David R. Goldfarb, Sr VP and CFO, Sandra J. Klimas, VP of Clinical

Services, Susan Flannigan, Assistant Dir of Home Care, Nancy Baranowski,

Supervisor of Residential Programs, and Michael Sweeney, RN. The individual

defendants are being sued in their individual capacity for actions taken under color of

authority granted by CTHI, but in excess of or in violation of such authority for

purposes of personal advantage within the "chain of command" of CTHI. 1

'ERELMUTTER. POTASH 8< GINZBERG. P.C.

ATTORNEYS &

:::OUNSELLORS AT LAW

11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

EYMOUR. CONNECTICUT

06483-0001

TEL (203) 888-2501 FAX (203) 888~7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

It FACTS:

2. The plaintiff Susane Grasso (hereinafter referred to as "Ms. Grasso") was

employed by CTHI during the period of 1998 until April 10, 2010, and from

approximately 2000 to April 15, 2010 Ms. Grasso was the director of complementary

and alternative medicine and/or director of complementary therapy (hereinafter

"Director of CAM").

3. During the foregoing period Ms. Grasso received evaluations of 3.5 to 3.8

on an effective scale of 1-4, wherein 4 is the highest.

4. On September 3,2008 Ms. Grasso was injured in an automobile accident

unrelated to her employment. She suffered fractures to her pelvis and several

fractures to her ribs, one of which punctured her lung. She returned to work on

December 1, 2008.

5. On or about February 9,2009 Ms. Grasso was about to sit at her desk

when she was warned that the chair was broken. She pushed the broken chair to

the maintenance office area and put a big sign on it that read "BROKEN".

6. On or about February 17,2009 while Ms. Grasso sat at her desk chair it

collapsed beneath her. She fell to the floor on the same side that her ribs and pelvis

were injured in the automobile accident. She reported the incident to CTHI and was

placed on Workers' Compensation Disability until February 24,2009.

7. Ms. Grasso reported the incident to Occupational Safety and Health

Administration of the Department of Labor (OSHA) which ordered that the safety

2

'ERELMUTTER, POTASH & GINZBERG. P.C.

ATTORNEYS 8:

~OUNSELLORS AT LAW

11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

.EYMOUR. CONNECTICUT

06483-0001

TEL (203) 888-2501 PAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

hazard be corrected. The order which should have been posted on the staff bulletin

board was instead posted at Ms. Grasso work cubical.

a_ On or about February 19, 2009 Ms. Grasso was asked by the defendant

Hulzeler to testify before the Joint House and Senate Cornmittee of the Connecticut

Legislator in favor of a bill requiring pain management training for nursing home

staffs. She did so in pain and with the aid of a cane.

9. On March 17,2009 Ms. Grasso reported to OSHA a second incident of a

defective chair which collapsed at a staff conference.

10. Following Ms. Grasso's reports to OSHA, Ms. Grasso's duties were

changed and she was transferred from the Hospice Inpatient Hospital (HIP) in

Branford to its out patient offices located in Shelton, Branford, Farmington, Norwalk,

and Wallingford.

11. Although her title and pay were not changed, Ms. Grasso was prohibited

from performing the duties of the Director of CAM, i.e, recruiting, training and

supervising volunteers and participating in regular interdisciplinary conferences to

coordinate the treatment of patients and those who care for them.

12. Ms. Grasso was also prohibited from treating patients, caregivers and

CTHl's staff as she had been doing previously.

.13. Following her transfer, Ms. Grasso was subjected to relentless and

severe pressure to quit by the individual defendants if she did not perform certain

useless tasks and continue to work under a hostile work environment as follows:

a) The phone at her regular HIP desk was put on a constant busy signal; 3

ERELMUTTER, POTASH & GINZEERG, p.e.

ATTORNEYS &

.OUNSELLORS AT LAW 11 SANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

:YMOUR. CONNECTICUT 06483-0001

TEL (203) 888-250 I FAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

b) She was frequently sent to nursing homes and/or homes for the aged to make "presentations" only to find nobody was told she was coming although she was told she was expected to her embarrassment and to the detriment of CTHI.;

II

c) She was repeatedly ordered to drive hundreds of miles to "drop ofF papers for no useful purpose;

d) When she as assiqned to the Shelton Outpatient Office, she was the only staff person who was denied a key to the office;

e) When presentations were arranged, she was told to make

representations about what services CTH I could offer which she knew

CTHI could not offer. She refused unless such order was given in

writing and so that the person giving the order could be contacted

when the representations could or would not be honored;

f) She was publicly harassed, humiliated, and stalked by the defendant,

Sweeney who was a New Haven Police Officer before he joined the

staff at CTHI. He tried frequently to intimidate Ms_ Grasso which sent a

warning message to her friends and colleagues.

14. The pressure, isolation and hostility became so severe that Ms. Grasso

filed a formal complaint to the Whistleblower Protection Program of OSHA claiming

that there was no rational or ethical basis for the way she was being treated and that

the treatment was in retaliation for filing the OSHA Complaints.

4

~R~~MUTT~R. POTASH 8< G!NZBERG. P.C.

ATTORNEYS 8:

;OUNSELLORS AT ~AW

11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

"YMOUR. CONN~CTICUT

064S3-0001

TEL (203) S8S-250 1 FAX (203) SS8-7928

.JURIS NUMBER 46117

15. On October 13, 2009 OSHA informed Ms. Grasso, through counsel, that

upon investigation it found" ... reasonable cause to believe a violation exists."

16. Pursuant to OSHA Whistleblower procedure, the investigator tried to

negotiate a settlement of the retaliation-discrimination complaint.

17. CTHI refused to agree to a settlement until the day before the OSHA

investigator threatened to issue subpoenas to CTHI and members of the "chain of

command" which would have required answers under oath.

18. The settlement agreement provided, in part, that GTHI"._.will not provide

Ms. Grasso any greater OR LESSER (Emphasis added) rights or privileges than any other employee of Hospice." That agreement confirmed her right to the protections

of the "Staff Handbook" including its grievance procedure and access to the

"continuing quality assurance (GQA) committee."

19. Ms. Grasso signed the agreement on January 26,2010 and sent CTHI a

"Signing Statemenf' dated February 2,2010. The defendant CTHI signed the

agreement on January 27,2010 but immediately violated and breached it.

20. OSHA closed its file and case upon receipt of a copy of the Agreement.

21. On February 4,2010, Ms. Grasso sent a "Notice of Breach" to the

defendant CTHI in an effort to avoid litigation and delay. It was ignored.

22. Formal notice of "Violation/Breach and Request for Remedy" was sent to

OSHA and CTHI on February 10, 2010 and February 18, 2010. They were ignored by the defendant CTHI.

5

ERELMUTTER,POTASH & GINZBERG, p.e.

ATTORNEYS 11:

:OUNSELLORS AT LAW 11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1 ,YMOUR, CONNECT1CUT 064a3~000l

TEL (203) 888~2501 FAX (203) 8a8~792a

JURIS NUMBER 46117

II

23. On February 22, 2010, OSHA advised Ms. Grasso, through counsel, that

"it was ... will not enforce the Settlement Agreement executed on January 27, 2010,

between your client, Susane Grasso and CTHI because OSHA is not a party to the

Agreement. If you believe that Hospice violated the Agreement, you have to

determine the appropriate venue to enforce it." This action follows that advice,

FIRST COUNT

WHISLEBLOWER STATUTE VIOLATION (C.G.S.A §31-51m)

Paragraphs 1 through 23 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

24. CTHI, acting through its Board of Directors which had formal authority

and/or effective control over its operations, and the individual defendants, knew or

should have known that (a) the individual defendants acted under color of their

authority to discriminate and retaliate against Susane Grasso for reporting to OSHA

the dangerous condition which caused her Workers' Compensation compensable

injury; (b) Ms. Grasso was a victim of retaliation as set forth above; (c) CTHI had a

duty to inquire about the facts of the case and the role of individual defendants as set

forth above; (d) CTHI and its President/CEO, the defendant Hulzeler, breached the

agreement as set forth above; (e) CTHI and the individual defendants condoned the

retaliation as set forth above.

26. CTHI's actions and constituted a violation of §31-51 m of the C.G.S.A. for

which CTHI is liable for compensatory damages. 6

ERELMUTTER,POTASH B: GINZBERG, =.c.

ATTORNEYS & :OUNSELLORS AT LAW

1 i BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

~YMOUR. CONNECTICUT

06483-0001

TEL (203) 888-250 1 FAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

SECOND COUNT

VIOLATION OF FIRST AMDENDMENT RIGHTS (C.G.S.A §31-51q)

Paragraphs 1 through 26 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

27. Ms. Grasso's complaints to OSHA and communications with the Quality

Control and Assurance Committee of CTHI as described above was the exercise of

her free speech in matters of pubic concern protected by the First Amendment of the

United States Constitution and § 3,4 and 14 of the Connecticut Constitution.

28. The exercise of these rights did not materially interfere with her duties to

CTHI, nor did it interfere with her job performance and working relationship with

CTHI. Rather her exercise of these rights was in accordance with her obligation to

CTHI as set forth in the 'Staff Handbook".

29. Ms. Grasso was penalized and ultimately forced to leave her employment

for her health as set forth above as a result of exercising her free speech rights.

30. Ms. Grasso seeks damages as set forth in C.G.S.A§31-51q.

THIRD COUNT

BREACH OF CONTRACT/SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

Paragraphs 1 through 30 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

7

ERELMUTTER, POTASH & GINZBERG, P.C.

A TTORNEYS a:

~OUNSELLORS AT LAW

11 BANK STREET

P.O. SOX 1

~YMOUR. CONNECTlCUT

06483-0001

TEL (203) 886-2501 FAX 1203J 686-7926

JURIS NUMBER 46117

31. When CTHI signed the Settlement Agreement, as set forth above, it

bound itself to the terms of that agreement which were immediately breached and/or

violated as described above.

32. Ms. Grasso made reasonable efforts to notify CTHI of the breach in order

to carry out her duties under the agreement. The continuous harassment,

humiliation, and endless pointless driving to which she was subjected constituted a

constructive termination and breach of the Settlement Agreement for which she

seeks compensatory damages against CTHI.

FOURTH COUNT

BREACH OF CONTRACT/STAFF HANDBOOK

Paragraphs 1 through 32 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

33. The Staff Handbook of CTHI provides terms and conditions for a

grievance procedure and for a right and obligation of the part of staff members to

report to its Quality Assurance Committee any conditions which would constitute a

violation of the high standards which the Handbook proclaims all staff members are

bound to carry out.

40. Ms. Grasso's attempted to exercise the rights contained in the Staff Handbook. Had those rights been recognized and carried out much of the damages

suffered by Ms. Grasso could have been avoided. Ms. Grasso claims compensatory

damages.

8

ERELMUTTER. 'POTASH 8: GIN2;BERG. P.C.

ATTORNEYS E<

:OUNSELLORS AT LAW 11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

,YMOUR, CONNECTiCUT

06483-0001

TEL (203) 888-2501 FAX (203) 868-7928

.JURIS NUMBER 46117

II

FIFTH COUNT

NEGLIGENT INFLICTION OF

EMOTIONAL DISTRESS AND CONDONING OF WILLFUL AND WANTON MISCONDUCT AGAINST THE INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS

Paragraphs 1 through 40 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

41. The individual defendants acted negligently and caused the plaintiff to

suffer emotional distress, The individual defendants in their actions to supposedly

help the plaintiff in doing her work negligently condoned willful and wanton

misconduct which intimidated staff members from having anything to do with Ms.

Grasso and which caused her to suffer emotional distress.

42. Ms. Grasso's written requests to the Human Relations Director of CTHI

make it clear that those who were responsible for addressing the conditions

described herein either chose to or were ordered to ignore the written requests.

SIXTH COUNT

INTENTIONAL INFLICTION

OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS! ALL INDIVIDUAL DEFENDANTS

Paragraphs 1 through 42 above are hereby included in and made part of this

count.

43. The individual defendants conspired together to engage in a pattern of

harassment and infliction of emotional distress which they knew and or should have

9

ERELMUTTER, POTASH 8: GINZBERG, =.c.

ATTORNEYS 8:

:OUNSELLORS AT LAW

11 BANK STREET

P,O. BOX 1

oYMOUR, CONNECTICUT 06463-0001

TEL (203) 888-21501 FAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

known would have an adverse impact on Ms. Grasso's emotional and physical

health and cause her to suffer emotional and physical damages.

44. The individual defendants engaged in this conduct in order to ingratiate

themselves with the upper levels of the "chain of command" which made it clear that

CTHI wanted to force Ms. Grasso out

45. For that intentional infliction of emotional distress each individual is jointly

and severely liable to Ms. Grasso for punitive damages to the extent the finder of fact

shall deem appropriate.

WHEREFORE, the Plaintiff claims:

1. Damages.

2. Punitive damages.

3, Such other relief as in equity pertains.

Hereof fail not, but due service and return make.

Dated at Seymour, Connecticut, this 6th day of July 2010.

THE PLAINTIFF

10

'ERELMUTTER, POTASH & GINZBERG, P.C.

ATTORNEYS &

:::OUNSELLORS AT LAW

11 BANK STREET

P.O. BOX 1

EYMOUR. CONNECT)CUT

06483-0001

TEL (203J 888-2501 FAX (203) 888-7928

JURIS NUMBER 46117

· ·

SUPERIOR COURT

RN DT:

AUGUST 3, 2010

SUSANE O. GRASSO

J.D. OF NEW HAVEN

vs.

· ·

AT NEW HAVEN

CONNECTICUT HOSPICE, INC., Rosemary J. Hurzeler,

Ronny J. Knight

David R. Goldfarb

Sandra J. Klimas

Susan Flannigan

Nancy Baranowski

Michael Sweeney

July 6, 2010

STATEMENT IN AMOUNT OF DEMAND

The amount in legal interest or property in demand, exclusive of interest and

costs is Fifteen Thousand ($15,000) Dollars or more.

THE PLAINTIFF

11

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